Thursday, February 05, 2009

Hectic week

Date: Feb. 4
Mileage: 30.3
February mileage: 52.3
Temperature: 29

I didn't really need to train anymore in February, did I?

I hope not, because it doesn't look like I'm going to have time to do many of those frivolous things I normally do, you know, like attempting to get in shape just enough to actually survive these frivolous adventure races I keep signing up for.

I took a new job. It pays 50 percent more than I used to make. And I only have to do 50 percent more work. Peer pressure gets me every time. You never get something for nothing, unless you are the person employing me. Sometimes I'm an enigma to myself. I horde my time like it's gold and then turn around give it away like it's candy. I do the same thing with my money.

It's been a crazy first week. I was called into work this morning before I could get my planned bike ride in. I had to squeeze in the miles between my commute and my dinner break. I'm fearful that I'll be called in again this weekend, a really important weekend for me. It's my three-weeks-until-the-race mark. I need to put in two long days in a row before a fairly heavy training workweek if I am to feel at all good about myself once the taper starts. But I have to laugh at my situation because I have only myself to blame. I saw it all coming from a fair distance away. I know I'll figure out how to squeeze in the biking hours, I'm just going to miss my old quality of life - the eating and the sleeping, the occasional blogging. But it's actually been a little exciting - new intellectual fatigue to replace the physical exhaustion. If I can endure both this coming week without quitting everything and joining a New Age cult, I'll know that I'm as ready for the race as I was ever going to be.
Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Hectic day

Date: Feb. 2
Mileage: 22
February mileage: 22
Temperature: 36

The huge bulk of Monday was a flurry of voices and noise that will mostly be forgotten the minute I fall asleep (very soon now.)

But there was a moment before it all when I was still on my bike, and it was early, and I followed a sucker hole south until I emerged from drizzling rain into my own private spot of sunlight. I rode laps on the beach in its window, flickering light beneath a crush of clouds. The air was as calm as springtime, and as warm as a mountain peak on a summer day. Beside sparkling tide pools I saw my shadow on Groundhog Day, and that made all the difference.
Monday, February 02, 2009

If I don't die or worse I'm gonna need a nap

I followed old snowshoe tracks up the steep face of Mount Jumbo. It may have been my phantom trail. It may have been someone else's. New snow had filled the holes, but a faint dotted line still cut a clear path through the forest. The trees were candy-coated top to bottom in snow. Avalanche danger was high, but I felt safe beneath 30 and 40-foot canopies, trees so big that any avalanche save for the Apocalypse would have to cut a similarly skewed path.

I was listening to Ani Difranco and reminiscing the carefree days of college when I began to notice a new theme cutting through my nostalgia. I never noticed it before, but Ani Difranco often sings about gravity ...

"We can't fight gravity on a planet that insists
that love is like falling
and falling is like this."
~"Falling Is Like This"

I tried to shake the feeling of dead weight off my snowshoes, but it was quickly working its way up my legs. The mountain angled steeper and the snow cut deeper, but I kept trudging. Why ... sometimes I'm not really sure. These are the hours of the day and these are my habits. I'm happy with them, most of the time. But sometimes, it's true, I feel oppressed by the gravity of my own routine, my own goals. I stopped walking and started flipping forward through the songs on my iPod, listening to my heart pump hot lead through my arteries as clumps of snow from high branches plopped down beside me. The faint trail rose like a wall. Gravity can often seem so oppressive, can become such an anchor, but where would we be without it? Static molecules hung in outer space.

I realized that I liked the way my molecules came together. Gravity is what makes me, me. I decided I could take a little more of the climb. And, anyway, the longer I stood still, the more I became a target for the snow bombs raining down from the trees.

"We make our own gravity to give weight to things.
Then things fall and they break, and gravity sings.
We can only hold so much is what I figure.
Try and keep our eye on the big picture,
picture keeps getting bigger."
~"Hour Follows Hour."

I had the big talk with my boss today. In an amazing twist of mutual negotiation, we both left the meeting smiling. The long short of it is I may (under final approval of the corporate overlords and Geoff) take the new job temporarily. Help head up the new design team, train any new employees, work on reshifting the freelance budget and solicit new content while balancing the budget and axing unnecessary costs. Things which I may or may not be any good at, but which, for a short interim period, may be fun to try.

Then, in late-April, with the blessing of my boss, Geoff and I will hit the road south and (hopefully) set up living quarters in a dry cabin near Teasdale, Utah. We plan to be away from Alaska for several months. Geoff is going to train for a half-dozen or so ultramarathons. I'm going to live the dream - riding my mountain bike in the Boulder Mountains, Capitol Reef, far points beyond, building up heat and elevation acclimation and something like ultra-fitness. My ultimate goal is something that I'm not quite yet ready to commit to and therefore not yet ready to solidify on my blog, but something which is probably becoming obvious by now.

Hard? Extremely. Too much to take on? Probably. The best of both worlds? As much of a balance as I'm probably ever going to find.

After that is exactly that - the big, heavy unknown.

"They can call me crazy if I fail,
All the chance that I need
is one in a million,
and they can call me brilliant
if I succeed.
Gravity is nothing to me,
moving at the speed of sound.
Just gonna get my feet wet
until I drown."
~Swan Dive